Disappointing Finish

The track team had high hopes this spring.

Nathan Bennett, Staff Writer

This is certainly not the way any team wants to end their season. 

But it’s something they will not forget any time soon. 

The Windsor track team had high expectations for this spring, but the COVID-19 pandemic quickly changed everything. When the news came out, it was especially disappointing for the seniors and coaches.

Girls’ head coach Stephany Dueker said, “Complete disappointment. I love track.” 

Boys’ head coach Jeff Stoffey shared similar sentiments. 

“From following everything going on in the world, I had a feeling that it was probably going to get canceled,” Stoffey said. “But once it became official, it still didn’t feel real. I immediately felt for the seniors.” 

The boys and girls teams were returning a ton of experience, including a total of 14 seniors. 

Not only were they returning several seniors, they were also returning underclassmen with experience. 

Sophomore Alex Julian, who qualified for sectionals as a freshman, was hoping to qualify for state this season. 

“It was pretty shocking, I expected a lot out of this season and I know the rest of the team did, too,” Julian said. “I also expected us to have some sort of season, even though it wouldn’t have been what we wanted that we would still have something. Not having a track season really does (stink) but I was not able to dwell on it too much because I had to figure all of my homework out at the same time.” 

The girls returned sophomore Madison Heaghney, who qualified for state as a freshman, and a number of others who made it to sectionals.

“My team was very well rounded and in the first 10 days of practice we were looking good and working hard.  I had a good group that would have been fun and I think successful as well,” Dueker said.

The boys returned senior Seif Elkhashab, who qualified for state in three events–shot put, discus and javelin.

“In my eight years as the coach, this was the most excited I’ve ever been for a season,” Stoffey said. “We had a ton of experience spread throughout each event; it makes me sick to my stomach when I think about it.”

Luckily for Elkhashab, this isn’t the end of his track and field days. He will be playing football and track and field at Washington University. 

“I was a little upset, but I am still going to throw in college for Wash U, so it wasn’t the end of the world for me,” Elkhashab said. “The thing I am going to miss most about being in track are the memories that I created and being with my friends and the team.” 

While the seniors did not get to finish their careers off like they planned, Stoffey said their dedication will leave a lasting impression.

“These seniors were dedicated to the sport and really enjoyed track. I think their enthusiasm for the sport helped show the underclassmen what track is all about.. Our senior throwers–Seif Elkhashab, Ethan West, and Noah Schaefer–will all be missed. They carried us at times because they scored so many points for us,” Stoffey said. “I was thrilled to have Kyle Stallings and Carter Hirth back out for track. Our distance seniors Cory Jeffers, Joey Lanfersieck, and Hirth were such great workers and role models. And certainly not least, Austin Henry. He was the best leader I’ve had over the past eight years as the head coach. He was a relentless worker who was such a great motivator for our younger athletes. I’m not sure how we’ll get pumped up for the 4×400 next season without him.” 

Dueker had a senior class ready to go out in style. 

“I love these senior girls… Katie (Uhrig) and Mallory (Bringaze) would have been great role models for my younger throwers. Emma (Pouvaranukoah) would have had her best season yet because I believe she would have been healthy all season. I wanted this season for Shawna (Hromnak) because she didn’t get to finish last season due to her appendicitis. Olivia (Miloscia) would have done big things this season. And Kennedy (Detmer)–the girl I’ve spent  seven different seasons with in one sport or another–she would have been her best Kennedy as an athlete and a person. Really, I just wanted to finish it with these girls and I wanted my last hug. They all deserved more.”


*Over the next few weeks, The Hoot will be covering all spring sports, along with a number of other stories about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Windsor High School.